Food products development process and management in a cereal company: a case study
The food industry is known for its frequent launch of large numbers of new products on the market. Another characteristic is its difficulty in defining and systemizing the product development process (PDP), thus contributing to high rates of product defects and market nonacceptance. This situation creates a challenge in terms of the need to streamline and upgrade the know-how of professionals involved in the development of food products. In the cereal industry, cereal bar products for children have gained increasing importance in this market segment. This fact is illustrated by the amazing growth of cereal bar sales, which, according to the Brazilian Food Industry Association (ABIA), rocketed from 77.8 million units in 1998 to 464 million in 2004. This article characterizes the PDP of a company operating in the cereal bar segment and analyzes the involvement of its suppliers in the process. This paper also characterizes the types of products the company develops, and identifies the tools it employs as well as problems in its PDP. This work was based on a case study, whereby the tools and systematized activities in the PDP were identified, as was the need for improving the suitability and choice of performance indicators employed by the company.